Your attention, please: Minus Mills, I’m picking Georgia Tech to go 8-4

Dedrick Mills after his last game as a Jacket. (Rob Foldy for Getty Images)

I try not to change a prediction, however silly it might be looking. (As we know, many have looked utterly ridiculous .) My reasoning: I’d rather not be wrong twice. Sometimes, however, circumstances intervene. Back around Memorial Day, I picked Georgia Tech to go 9-3 and win the ACC Coastal. That forecast is hereby revised.

I picked Tech to win its division even though Justin Thomas, its best player, had completed his eligibility. If that was a reach, it was a considered one: Every other Coastal contender is also changing quarterbacks. I also figured that Dedrick Mills might well be the division’s best player. On Friday, Mills became an ex-Techie.

The most important positions in Paul Johnson’s offense (and therefore on Paul Johnson’s team) are quarterback and B-back. In the Yellow Jackets’ best seasons under this coach – 2008, 2009, 2014 and 2016 – they had big-time performers at both spots: First Joshua Nesbitt and Jonathan Dwyer, then Thomas and Zach Laskey/Synjyn Days, last year Thomas and Mills. With holes at both QB and BB, I no longer see a way this team can win nine games. I no longer believe it will take the Coastal.

Which isn’t to say all hope is lost. Johnson is smart enough to think of something. There are still enough wins on this schedule to be bowl-eligible. As Tennessee coach Butch Jones has noted, the Jackets were unbeaten in the games Mills missed last season. (Counter-note: Three of those were against Mercer, Duke and Virginia, who were a collective 12-23.)

But enough back-and-forth. Here’s how I now see Tech’s season unfolding:

Sept. 4, Tennessee in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. I’m not changing this pick, largely because I’ve sworn off Butch and his champions of life. The Volunteers have a new offensive coordinator and a new quarterback. They also have the same head coach, who mightn’t be their head coach come January. Tech 20, Tennessee 17.

Sept. 9, Jacksonville State. I don’t bet, but I’d be tempted to lay a nickel that this is a close game for 2 1/2 quarters. The Gamecocks went 10-2 last season. Tech’s coming off a short week after facing an SEC brand name. It’s an early kickoff. Not saying this will be Middle Tennessee all over again, but don’t sleep on Jax. Tech 30, JSU 20.

Sept. 16, at Central Florida. Scott Frost, once Nebraska’s quarterback and more recently Oregon’s offensive coordinator, is the Knights’ coach. He went 6-7 in Year 1. His team is picked to finish second behind South Florida in the American Conference East. Coming on the road (and at night), this wouldn’t be a major upset. I’m still going with the Power 5 team, if only just. Tech 30, UCF 27 (OT).

Sept. 23, Pitt. The Jackets have lost wild games to the Panthers by a field goal each of the past two seasons. They’re due to win this year’s shootout. Tech 31, Pitt 28.

Sept. 30, North Carolina. Larry Fedora is a strange case. He keeps getting mentioned for bigger jobs, not that UNC Chapel Hill is nowheresville, but only once in five years have his Tar Heels won as many as nine games. Gene Chizik, his defensive coordinator the past two seasons, resigned in February to spend more time with his family, which didn’t preclude him from taking an analyst’s job with the SEC Network. Last year’s quarterback was Mitch Trubisky, who became the most debated No. 2 NFL draft pick since Ryan Leaf. Tech 28, Carolina 20.

Oct. 12, at Miami. Another night game, this on a Thursday, in the state of Florida. Tech exits unbeaten no more. Miami 28, Tech 17.

Oct. 21, Wake Forest. Get-well game. Tech 35, Wake 14.

Oct. 28, at Clemson. Get-rocked-again game. Clemson 31, Tech 17.

Nov. 4, at Virginia. Stock-taking time: The Jackets are 6-2, which isn’t at all bad, but they’re 3-2 in the ACC, which means they can’t lose another and hope to win the Coastal. They won’t lose this. Tech 24, Virginia 20.

Nov. 11, Virginia Tech. Biggest game of the year, Coastal-wise. G-Tech upset division-champ-to-be V-Tech in Blacksburg behind Matthew Jordan last year on a day when Mills didn’t play. With Mills, I’d have picked the Jackets. Without him, I’m not. V-Tech 24, G-Tech 21.

Nov. 18, at Duke. This gets Tech to eight wins and 5-3 in ACC play. Tech 27, Duke 23.

Nov. 25, Georgia. This keeps Tech stuck on eight. Georgia is again picked to win the SEC East, though I don’t believe it will. Each of Johnson’s three victories over the Bulldogs have come in Athens, and each featuring something fairly extraordinary. Minus Mills, I don’t foresee this bunch of Jackets as extraordinary. Well coached, yes. Hard-playing, yes. Tough to beat, yes. But not unbeatable. Georgia 30, Tech 23.

Reader Comments 0

30 comments
TideDawg
TideDawg

Too much emphasis on the impact of one player, that's not the QB.

Harvey P.
Harvey P.

okay, mister self-proclaimed 'expert analyst', so why not show what ya got and add in a bowl projection and prediction

dawg fan
dawg fan

@Harvey  Oh that's easy.  Nerds go to some crap no name bowl in East Bumblewad, USA that maybe 10,000 people will watch on TV.  Absolutely no one on Earth will care about the outcome.  Book it.  That's easy money right there. 

dawg fan
dawg fan

Sounds about right.  8-4.  The nerds will throw a parade and talk about the national titles they won 100 years ago.  Then when confronted with unfavorable facts they'll hide behind excuses.  If there is one word to describe Georgia Tech football and its fans it would be predictable.  If two words I'd go with boring and predictable. 

slydawg
slydawg

Uhhh.... This article was a "I don't want CPJ upset with me and laying claim to I told you so politics" during the season.

OldBlindDawg
OldBlindDawg

I doubt Mills is irreplaceable in your offense. There are two very capable kids itching to carry the ball and show their stuff.  

bobbyross1990
bobbyross1990

I'll be shocked if we go 8-4. Someone on this team is going to have to surprise me. Defense needs to shine this season. I am hopeful, however.

drydirtroad
drydirtroad

I remember when Tech had this real good Freshman rb named Tony something, a black guy like Dedrick was. His average was about 7 yards a carry. Then he came in as a Sophomore and during a running play kinda caved in on a lower leg at the knee and that was it for him and for Tech that year and for the next two years. This Mills dismissal is the same. Now though Tech has more rbs bc of their offense, so Howard and Benson are supposed to be just as good.

RochesterJacket
RochesterJacket

@drydirtroad Tony Hollings!  He converted from DB to RB and it was a great couple of games to start the season.

drydirtroad
drydirtroad

I just hope Mills didn't accept a bribe from Tenn fans to act like a dip somewhere on campus or do whatever he did.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Harvey

ddr sometimes get overexcited about GT's uniform colors and designs. He's more entertaining then.

Hookedonshortpasses
Hookedonshortpasses

I live near many oak trees and have found 11 YJ nests so far this year and have not (yet) been stung....I consider that an omen.  But with Mills gone, I anticipate getting stung soon.


Hate it for him and Tech.

pocketrockets
pocketrockets

Wouldn't be surprised to see this them lose the first 2 games.

pocketrockets
pocketrockets

Jack state also plays this Saturday. So gt has 4.5 days of rest while they have 2 weeks

pocketrockets
pocketrockets

They will lose to either pitt, uva ucf or unc and beat either clem miami vt or ga.

Dawgonnit
Dawgonnit

My pick is the same as the last few years 3-9 to 9-3.  Mills was responsible basically for the BC game win if not more.  He was one of Tech's better  backs in years..  Complete back like Joe Burns, Eddie Lee Ivery type. There has been a lot of attrition at Tech since Johnson usually that hurts ask Gailey and Lewis. There was  a QB in the running named Hall when Hamilton left who got lost in the shuffle when Gailey arrived.  A mistake that haunted Gailey. Mills had the intangibles to go with talent.

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

@Dawgonnit We have plenty of fast backs, don't

sweat it.. Teck will get it done dog gone it!!

TOJacket
TOJacket

I agree with "don't sleep on Jax" statement.

OH:IO
OH:IO

dogs


#15


2nd/3rd Tier.......as usual

TOJacket
TOJacket

@OH:IO Good grief!!...those AP morons pick them for the top 20 again?....BWAAAHAHAHA!!!!!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket @OH:IO

The team you laugh at OWNS you--and has for decades! Tell the blog how it feels instead ducking and dodging like a coward.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

Not a damn thing good to say about your team--as usual--following that disgraceful beatdown at the hands of Clemson just a few short months ago.

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

@DawgNole @OH:IO Lot's of teams broke down to Clemson. The number one team in the country

from the mighty ACC.. Embrace it.. 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@LOGS1973

That 31-0 whitewashing demonstrated loudly and clearly that osu had no business in the playoffs. Just like the lying hypocrite oh:io has no business insulting anyone else's team.